Colne 3, Flixton 2

Mark Threfall
Mark Threfall

A game of two halves ended in high drama at the XLCR Stadium on Saturday as Colne grabbed all three points in the closing minutes.

The Reds had worked hard to gain the upper hand in the first half with Danny Boyle and Dominic Craig buzzing in midfield.

Flixton’s attacks were capably dealt with by the Reds defence, and keeper Chris Thompson looked solid at the back with a series of strong clearances throughout the game.

Colne deservedly took the lead on 31 minutes when Mark Threlfall (pictured) sidefooted home to finish off a good build-up by Craig and Boyle.

The Reds had the chance to increase their lead within minutes when a Flixton defender failed to clear a long through ball and left Bright Maduka in the clear, but he shot high over the bar.

When Boyle was brought down on the edge of the area, Jimmy Crorken’s free kick was deflected wide of goal, but, as the Reds kept up the pressure, Craig was brought down in the area and Boyle fired home the penalty to double Colne’s lead.

The Reds had further chances with Maduka and Threlfall firing efforts just off target before the interval.

But Colne’s fortunes changed in the second half as Flixton came back strongly and Thompson did well to prevent Wayne Wellbeck from scoring in a one-on-one after 47 minutes.

Thomas Smith pulled a goal back for the visitors after 54 minutes with a strong run on the right and a shot into the far corner of the net.

Billy Priestley made a vital challenge to prevent Wellbeck from scoring when he looked to have gone clear, but on the hour, Flixton drew level when Andy Keogh met a free kick with a glancing header at the near post.

Colne came close to regaining the lead when Priestley headed just over the bar from a corner on 65 minutes, and even closer just three minutes later when Andy Tinker shot across the face of the goal after chesting down a half clearance in the penalty area.

But Flixton looked dangerous with every attack, and Daniel Egan saw his shot come back off the Reds’ crossbar in a series of close escapes for the home defence.

The visitors looked favourites to get another goal but the game swung back in Colne’s favour in the closing stages.

When Threlfall was tripped just outside the penalty area on 86 minutes, Andy Tinker’s free kick hit the underside of the bar before being scrambled clear off the goal line, sparking a storm of controversy.

The referee at first refused to give the goal, but amid protests from both sides, he eventually consulted his assistant, who confirmed that the ball had crossed the line, which it clearly had, giving the Reds a narrow win.

The game at Bacup on Tuesday night was postponed, due to an unfit playing surface.

Colne are at Bootle on Saturday, before a big night at the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday night as they host Blue Square Bet Premier outfit Barrow in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy second round.